Politics & the Nation
  • A very well balanced editorial on Pakistan's internecine warfare.
  • GSM services can be now offered by CDMA players too.
    • In a major blow to GSM operators, the telecom tribunal on Tuesday upheld the government’s decision to allow CDMA players, such as Reliance Communications and the Tatas, to launch GSM services.
    • The tribunal also observed that GSM players are not entitled to more than 6.2 MHz of radio frequencies, a move that will strengthen the government’s efforts to impose a one-time fee for radio frequencies, exceeding this mark.
    • Some GSM players such as Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Essar have up to 10 MHz in certain circles.
  • India's power elite get 'power' flights
    • "Rajdoot" is the name given to the first of the planes. To be used by the President.
    • It is a new Boeing 747/700 and is one of the three such aircraft that have been bought by the country to cater to the VVIPs, including the Prime Minister.
    • While one of the three jets is meant exclusively for the President and the Prime Minister, the other is for ferrying special guests and senior ministers. The third jet would be on a stand-by.
    • These planes are inducted into the IAF's Headquarters Communication Squadron.
    • Want to read more about them? Do so here.
  • India gets first Uranium fuel consignment post Indo-US nuclear deal
    • Following clearance by the Nuclear Suppliers Group, first consignment of 60 tonnes of uranium ore concentrate, imported from France, has arrived at the Nuclear Fuel Complex (NFC), Hyderabad for being converted into fuel for power reactors.
    • The fuel would be processed by converting uranium ore concentrated into nuclear grade uranium dioxide powder and then compacted in the form of cylindrical pellets. These pellets will then stacked and encapsulated in thin walled tubes of zirconium alloy which will be sealed by resistance welding using end plugs, a technology which has been innovated in India.
Finance & Economics
  • If a GM or Chrysler sneezes, why should India catch cold?
    • You might all be aware that these are but two of the big names in automobile industry in the US. Both of them are facing humungous problems and are feared to be on their way to file for bankruptcy protection. This, in spite of the billions of dollars worth bailouts announced by the US government. If they are in trouble, why should India bother?
    • Because Indian automobile spare parts manufacturers supply goods to them. If these companies go under, then it is these manufacturers who will face tough times; not just in terms of loss of orders, but also in terms of stuck payments. That would mean possible loss of employment in India.
    • More or less similar will be the scenario with those of the IT companies which have a lot of business relationship with these companies.
  • How is that our country, in spite of its being a non-export oriented country, is facing as much downside, if not more, as many other export dependent countries in the current global economic crisis? (An excerpt from today's ET op-ed article.)
    • True, India had been expected to suffer the least because its economy was the least dependent on foreign trade. But this forecast did not take into account the very rapid pace at which our economy had been integrated into the global economy in the past decade. The conventional measure of integration — the trade to GDP ratio — told only a part of the story, although this too had had recorded an impressive rise from 21.2% in 1997-98 to 34.7% in 2007-08. A far better measure of integration was the ratio of total external transactions, i.e., trade and capital flows, to GDP. This exceeded the entire GDP, having risen from 46.8% to 114.7%.
    • It was the impact of the recession on nontrade financial flows that was doing the most harm to the economy. In the previous year capital inflows had broken all records and reached a staggering 9% of the GDP. This had dwarfed the outflow on the current account of 1.5% of the GDP and caused a sharp appreciation of the rupee. The reversal of these flows after the global financial crisis are the cause of the deeper than expected recession into which India is plunging, for it has compounded the impact of the decline in exports by bringing down share prices and the value of the rupee very sharply. These have strengthened the disinclination to invest and spend just when the economy needed the opposite.
  • Country's total external debt figures
    • THE country’s total external debt rose to $230.85 billion (Rs 11,18,565 crore) at the end of December 2008, up $6.2 billion from the total foreign debt in September, mainly because of a rise in long-term borrowing, finance ministry said here on Tuesday. Total external debt stood at $205.98 billion, or Rs 8,11,880 crore, at the end of December 2007.
    • Government or sovereign external debt stood at $57.4 billion at end-December 2008 while non-government debt amounted to $173.5 billion.
  • World Bank announces a $50 bn programme to revive confidence
    • The World Bank announced a $50 billion programme on Tuesday to counter a decline in global trade.
    • Robert Zoellick, the Bank's President said the Bank expects world trade volumes to fall by 6 percent this year, the largest decline in 80 years.
    • While few details about the programme to boost trade were made available, the drop in commerce was attributed by the bank to a shortfall in trade credit, which allows exporters and importers to settle accounts.
  • You get an excellent low-down on Obama's $1 trillion bailout plan
    • But be warned; you need to be patient and also have a little bit of background to understand the expert speak in the article.
    • For finance and economics guys, this is a must read. Here it goes...